Winners and Losers , 11-30-2013


We liked this week

Wallingford’s Board of Education approved (passing 6 to 2) a plan Monday night to adopt a full-day kindergarten program and increase enrollment in its preschool program. The plan would cost about $1.3 million, increasing annual instruction time for kindergartners from 450 to 900 hours. It has proven to be very successful in similar municipalities.

With the help of a local funeral home, information about the Center Street Cemetery will soon be accessible online. Earlier this month, we reported that the Center Street Cemetery Association was hoping to establish a website by early next year. Peter Gouveia, the association’s president since June, said that shortly after the article ran he was contacted by Matthew Bailey, president of B.C. Bailey Funeral Home on South Elm Street. Bailey, a member of the cemetery association, offered to cover all costs of developing a website. Bailey is the fourth generation of his family to operate the funeral home. He has become more involved with the cemetery association recently, serving on a committee that looked into the cemetery’s purchase of two properties on Prince Street. We thank him for his generosity.

Because of her work and dedication to the school and students, it was announced last school year that Gina Cabrera was Wallingford’s Paraeducator of the Year. In October, the state Department of Education announced she received the 2014 Annie Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year Award. Congratulations! (The award, formerly known as the Connecticut Paraeducator of the Year Award, was renamed in honor of Murphy, a special education paraprofessional who was killed in the Newton tragedy.)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced last Friday that the Meriden Housing Authority has received a $500,000 planning grant for the demolition and redevelopment of Mills Memorial Apartments. On its third submission to HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program, the MHA, which partnered with the city on the application, was successful in earning a grant that could help redevelop the Mills low-income housing units and the neighborhood in the downtown area. There are a total of 140 units at Mills, spread across five buildings, including two high-rises.

The stock market recently vaulted past another milestone. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed above 1,800 for the first time, capping seven straight weeks of gains. The broader index is on track for its best performance in 15 years as a combination of solid corporate earnings, a strengthening economy and easy-money policies from the Federal Reserve draw investors to stocks. Stocks have also gained because they offer an attractive alternative to bonds, where interest rates remain close to all-time lows.

German culture was alive and well at the Meriden Turner Society on Old Colony Road last Saturday as nearly 70 people celebrated the annual Schlachtfest. Thought of as a German Thanksgiving of sorts, Schlachtfest is a German tradition that dates back to when members of German villages would slaughter pigs to make sausages. It is also used to celebrate a strong harvest and to be thankful and appreciative, and to survive the long winters. It may have spared a few turkeys, too!

With an increased number of students in Southington High School’s vocational agriculture program, the state Department of Education boosted funding by $142,700. Students from Southington, Berlin, Farmington, Bristol, New Britain, Cheshire, Plainville, Terryville, Waterbury and Wolcott can apply to be a part of the Department of Education regional vocational program. An Agriculture Science and Technology Education grant increased funding by about $1,000 per student. The additional funds will pay for equipment and a teacher to offset larger class sizes.

We didn’t like this week

The Cheshire Correctional Institution has been under the same contract with the state for more than 20 years, and town officials are looking for a chance to amend it. A bill requiring the reopening of prison contracts between the state and the town became law in April. Since then, town officials have been waiting for an opportunity to discuss the matter, primarily because of the use of the waste water treatment plant. Now, the aging wastewater treatment plant is being rebuilt at a cost of $32.15 million, to be paid for by funds from a referendum passed by voters. The town will have to start paying the money back in fiscal year 2017-18. The town filed a lawsuit against the state in an attempt to reopen the contract last year, when a similar bill was introduced in the legislature.

Yale University was locked down for nearly six hours Monday as authorities responded to a phone call warning that an armed man was heading to shoot up the school that they are investigating as a likely hoax. Police did not find a gunman after SWAT teams searched the Ivy League campus and a lockdown was lifted Monday afternoon. Thankfully, no one was injured, police said.



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